Harold Watkins Shaw, OBE, known as Watkins Shaw (3 April 1911 in Bradford, Yorkshire – 8 October 1996 in Worcester) was a British musicologist and educator best known for his critical edition of Handel's Messiah compiled between 1957 and 1965, which version has largely supplanted that of Ebenezer Prout in British performance - The Times obituarist went so far as describe it as being in "universal use", though this is a slight exaggeration.
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.
Bradford is a city in West Yorkshire, England, in the foothills of the Pennines, 8.6 miles (14 km) west of Leeds, and 16 miles (26 km) north-west of Wakefield. Bradford became a municipal borough in 1847, and received its charter as a city in 1897. Following local government reform in 1974, city status was bestowed upon the City of Bradford metropolitan borough.
Yorkshire, formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Due to its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform. Throughout these changes, Yorkshire has continued to be recognised as a geographical territory and cultural region. The name is familiar and well understood across the United Kingdom and is in common use in the media and the military, and also features in the titles of current areas of civil administration such as North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire.
Shaw was the only child of schoolteachers in Bradford. He attended Grange Road School, where his father taught geography, and he discovered his love of music from singing in chapel choirs. In 1929 he won the George Calder MacLeod Scholarship to read history at Wadham College, Oxford, graduating in 1932 and winning the Osgood Memorial prize for his dissertation on John Blow, after which he studied at the Royal College of Music for a year. It was here that he was encouraged to combine his loves of history and music.
Oxford is a university city in south central England and the county town of Oxfordshire. With a population of approximately 155,000, it is the 52nd largest city in the United Kingdom, with one of the fastest growing populations in the UK, and it remains the most ethnically diverse area in Oxfordshire county. The city is 51 miles (82 km) from London, 61 miles (98 km) from Bristol, 59 miles (95 km) from Southampton, 57 miles (92 km) from Birmingham and 24 miles (39 km) from Reading.
John Blow was an English Baroque composer and organist, appointed to Westminster Abbey in 1669. His pupils included William Croft, Jeremiah Clarke and Henry Purcell. In 1685 he was named a private musician to James II. His only stage composition, Venus and Adonis, is thought to have influenced Henry Purcell's later opera Dido and Aeneas. In 1687 he became choirmaster at St Paul's Cathedral, where many of his pieces were performed. In 1699 he was appointed to the newly created post of Composer to the Chapel Royal.
The Royal College of Music is a conservatoire established by royal charter in 1882, located in South Kensington, London, UK. It offers training from the undergraduate to the doctoral level in all aspects of Western Art including performance, composition, conducting, music theory and history. The RCM also undertakes research, with particular strengths in performance practice and performance science. The college is one of the four conservatories of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and a member of Conservatoires UK. Its buildings are directly opposite the Royal Albert Hall on Prince Consort Road, next to Imperial College and among the museums and cultural centres of Albertopolis.
He held a teaching post in London and was music organizer to Hertfordshire County Council for three years from 1946 and a lecturer at Worcester College of Education from 1949 until retirement in 1970.
Hertfordshire County Council is the upper-tier local authority for the non-metropolitan county of Hertfordshire, in England, the United Kingdom. After the elections in 2017, it consists of 78 councillors, and is controlled by the Conservative Party, which has 50 councillors, versus 19 Liberal Democrats and 9 Labour councillors. It is a member of the East of England Local Government Association.
Worcester is a city in Worcestershire, England, 31 miles (50 km) southwest of Birmingham, 101 miles (163 km) west-northwest of London, 27 miles (43 km) north of Gloucester and 23 miles (37 km) northeast of Hereford. The population is approximately 100,000. The River Severn flanks the western side of the city centre, which is overlooked by Worcester Cathedral.
These positions, while "less than satisfying to his scholarly temperament" at least allowed him sufficient time to pursue his independent work as a musical writer and editor, a work in which he was proud to have supported himself without recourse to grants or bursaries.
In 1948, E. H. Fellowes retired as honorary librarian of Sir Frederick Ouseley’s choral foundation of St. Michael's College, Tenbury. Shaw was his successor and also served as a Governor and Fellow. When the college closed in 1985 Shaw negotiated through Ouseley’s two conflicting wills to ensure that all the manuscripts in this important collection reached the Bodleian Library - including Handel’s conducting score of Messiah, used by the composer for the first performance in Dublin in 1742 - and also influenced the Charity Commissioners to ensure that the endowment now known as the Ouseley Trust should be made available "for the purpose of promoting and maintaining to a high standard the choral services of the Church of England".
The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University of Oxford, and is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. With over 12 million items, it is the second-largest library in Britain after the British Library. Under the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 it is one of six legal deposit libraries for works published in the United Kingdom and under Irish Law it is entitled to request a copy of each book published in the Republic of Ireland. Known to Oxford scholars as "Bodley" or "the Bod", it operates principally as a reference library and, in general, documents may not be removed from the reading rooms.
The Charity Commission for England and Wales is the non-ministerial government department that regulates registered charities in England and Wales and maintains the Central Register of Charities.
Shaw was particularly known for his extensive writings on and editing of church music, a field in which he was active for nearly 50 years. Much of his work was published under the auspices of the Church Music Society, of which he was the first honorary general editor (for 14 years from 1956), chairman from 1979 to 1987. He was also closely associated with the Three Choirs Festival, often writing its programmes, and publishing its history in 1954.
The Three Choirs Festival is a music festival held annually at the end of July, rotating among the cathedrals of the Three Counties and originally featuring their three choirs, which remain central to the week-long programme. The large-scale choral repertoire is now performed by the Festival Chorus, but the festival also features other major ensembles and international soloists. The 2011 festival took place in Worcester from 6 to 13 August. The 2012 festival in Hereford took place earlier than usual, from 21 to 28 July, to avoid clashing with the 2012 Summer Olympics. The event is now established in the last week of July. The 300th anniversary of the original Three Choirs Festival was celebrated during the 2015 festival, which took place from 25 July to 1 August in Hereford.
His interests and publications focused on what is now termed early music, in Shaw's case roughly from Thomas Tallis to Samuel Sebastian Wesley, with major interests being John Blow, Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel. He also reconstructed and reinstated preces and responses by William Byrd, Thomas Morley, William Smith and Thomas Tomkins. His scholarship in these centuries coincided with and helped lay the foundations on which the early music revival of the late 20th Century was built.
Early music generally comprises Medieval music (500–1400) and Renaissance music (1400–1600), but can also include Baroque music (1600–1760). Early music is a broad musical era in the history of Western art music.
Thomas Tallis was an English composer who occupies a primary place in anthologies of English choral music and is considered one of England's greatest composers. He is honoured for his original voice in English musicianship. No contemporaneous portrait of Tallis survives; the one painted by Gerard Vandergucht (illustration) dates from 150 years after Tallis died, and there is no reason to suppose that it is a likeness. In a rare existing copy of his blackletter signature, the composer spelled his last name "Tallys".
Samuel Sebastian Wesley was an English organist and composer. Wesley married Mary Anne Merewether and had 6 children.
Honours included a DLitt awarded in 1967 by the faculty of music at Oxford University and the OBE awarded in 1990 for services to music.
Published works included:
Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the Coverdale Psalter, the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.
Sir John Stainer was an English composer and organist whose music, though not generally much performed today, was very popular during his lifetime. His work as choir trainer and organist set standards for Anglican church music that are still influential. He was also active as an academic, becoming Heather Professor of Music at Oxford.
Sir Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley, 2nd Baronet was an English composer, organist, musicologist and priest.
Edgar Thomas Cook CBE D.Mus. (Cantuar) FRCO FRCM was an English organist and composer.
King's College Saint Michaels is an independent international boarding school located in Tenbury Wells Worcestershire, England. The school specialises in teaching non English language students.
Bernard William George Rose, OBE, Doctor in Music, Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, was a British organist, soldier, composer, and academic.
Edmund Horace Fellowes, was a Church of England clergyman and musical scholar who became well known for his work in promoting the revival of sixteenth and seventeenth century English music.
Charles Jennens was an English landowner and patron of the arts. As a friend of Handel, he helped author the libretti of several of his oratorios, most notably Messiah.
Susan Elizabeth "Suzi" Digby, Lady Eatwell OBE is a British choral conductor and music educator.
Thomas Dunn was an American musician and music editor known for his performances of Baroque music. He is considered an important figure in the development of the 20th-century early music revival and adoption of historically informed performance practices in the United States.
Saint Peter's Singers (SPS) is a chamber choir associated with Leeds Minster, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England that celebrated during the Season 2017/2018 the fortieth anniversary of the choir's formation by Harry Fearnley in 1977. An anniversary concert took place at Leeds Minster on Sunday 25 June 2017 with the National Festival Orchestra and soloists Kristina James, Joanna Gamble, Paul Dutton and Quentin Brown. Further anniversary year events included Bach Cantatas and Music for Christmas at Fulneck Church in August and December respectively, Handel Coronation Anthems at Holy Trinity, Boar Lane as part of the Leeds Handel Festival in September and a tour of East Anglia in October. In November at Leeds Town Hall, the Singers participated in Herbert Howells's masterpiece Hymnus Paradisi with Leeds Philharmonic Chorus and Leeds College of Music Chorale under the direction of Dr David Hill with the Orchestra of Opera North. 2018 began with a concert of Sacred Choral Masterworks at Leeds Town Hall in February and Bach's Mass in B minor at Leeds Minster on Good Friday 2018 in memory of long-serving member Jan Holdstock. The final concert of the current season takes place at Leeds Minster on Sunday 24 June at Leeds Minster at 5.30. At this event will be presented the first performance of a new work from composer Philip Moore commissioned for the Singers' 40th anniversary – the motet Tu es Petrus – along with music by E W Naylor, Arvo Part, Sir Hubert Parry, Judith Bingham and Maurice Durufle. Simon Lindley conducts and the organist is David Houlder.
Andrew Gant is a British composer, singer, author, teacher and Liberal Democrat politician. He was organist, choirmaster and composer at Her Majesty's Chapel Royal from 2000 to 2013, and has published three books on musical subjects.
Sir Anthony Carey Lewis, was an English musicologist, conductor, composer, and music educator. He co-founded and served as the first chief editor of Musica Britannica, producing scholarly editions of British music hitherto unavailable. He published critical editions of operas by Handel, Purcell and John Blow.
Daniel Moult is a concert organist, educator and animateur, ensemble player and presenter of films about music.
Henry Cope Colles was an English music critic, music lexicographer, writer on music and organist. He is best known for his 32 years as chief music critic of The Times (1911–1943) and for editing the 3rd and 4th editions of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
William Gillies Whittaker was an English composer, pedagogue, conductor, musicologist, Bach scholar, publisher and writer. He spent his life promoting music. The University of Durham, where he once studied and taught, called him one of "Britain's most influential musicians during the first half of the twentieth century". An autodidact, he was a prodigious creator of Gebrauchsmusik.
The Foundling Hospital Anthem, also known by its longer title "Blessed are they that considereth the poor" [sic], is a choral anthem composed by George Frideric Handel in 1749. It was written for the Foundling Hospital in London and was first performed in the chapel there. Handel wrote two versions, one for choir only and one for choir and soloists. Composed 10 years before his death, it was Handel's last piece of English church music.
Der Messias, K. 572, is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 1789 German-language version of Messiah, George Frideric Handel's 1741 oratorio. On the initiative of Gottfried van Swieten, Mozart adapted Handel's work for performances in Vienna.
The Choir of Somerville College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford, is a mixed voice and is led by a Director of Chapel Music, currently William Dawes. In conjunction with the organ scholars, the choir is central to the musical life of the college. Somerville Choir, in its present form, was founded by Francis Knights and Sam Bayliss in 2001 and practises in Somerville College Chapel. The choir sings in the college chapel every Sunday during term and performs regularly in concerts organised by Somerville Music Society.